Help on the way

“Year 12 students can take charge of post-pandemic future,” ACU promotes a pathway course for business studies, yesterday. Glad somebody is going to give it a go.

There’s more in the Mail

In Features this morning

Building collaborative learning communities with ideas from Amanda White (UTS), Michael Sankey (Griffith U), David Kellerman (UNSW) and Bardo Fraunholz (Deakin U). Content supplied by Microsoft.

The Australian Association of University Professors makes the case for a Senate inquiry into the dire state of HE.

Kaye Broadbent (CQU), “The union is its members and we need a voice”

Ian Marshman and Frank Larkins on university costs to cut in the age of COVID-19

Claire Macken (RMIT) on learning in tech-enabled future . It’s a new contribution to Commissioning Editor Sally Kift’s series on what is needed now in teaching and learning.

And tomorrow: Inger Mewburn (ANU) responds to Marshman and Larkins


La Trobe U urges staff to apply for JobKeeper payment

The university expects to lose so much money it will be able to keep staff

VC John Dewar tells the university community that qualifying for the feds’ JobKeeper programme, “could go a long-way to mitigating the COVID-19 staffing measures we are currently discussing with the National Tertiary Education Union.”

Professor Dewar says “the vast majority” of LT U staff will meet requirements for the six month $1500 per fortnight payment. The payment would go toward meeting staff members existing salaries. Casual staff now expecting to lose all their work from May 1 would also receive the payment.

To qualify for JobKeeper employers with up to $1bn turnover must be down by 30 per cent on revenue.

“Recent analysis of the current ATO published guidelines means La Trobe does indeed qualify as an eligible employer,” Professor Dewar says.  He appears to be getting similar advice as Bond U’s Tim Brailsford, who also thinks his institution can qualify (CMM April 14).

Professor Dewar urges, “ALL eligible staff (to) nominate La Trobe as their employer.”

“It is very important to the university’s financial sustainability and our ability to preserve employment as much as possible.”

The VC tells staff the university faces a “revenue deficit challenge” of $150m, with projected savings so far at $65m. An estimated $50m in Job Keeper payments, “would make a significant difference.”

“While we cannot rule out the possibility of a last-minute change to the eligibility requirements, confirmation by the Australian Taxation Office of La Trobe’s eligibility for the JobKeeper payment scheme would be of enormous financial assistance to La Trobe,” Professor Dewar adds.

No fail grades at Uni SA

The university moves into-line with institutions acknowledging COVID-19 and on-line classes will disrupt student performance

Students with a grade they fear will reduce their GPA have ten days from receipt to ask for a non-graded pass instead. And any that fail can request a withdrawal record on their academic transcript, which will not impact their GPA either.

Uni SA announced the changes yesterday, which met with student association approval.

USASA once again commends the University of South Australia for their common sense, student-centric approach to their handling of the COVID pandemic,” president Noah Beckmann tells members.

Protecting jobs at UNSW: no option unexplored

Staff will learn what is found next week

Last week VC Ian Jacobs asked staff to “consider voluntarily sharing the burden of reducing expenditure, so that we can minimise the impact of the financial pressures we are facing, including job losses.”

He reminded them yesterday, “the more staff who are able to take up one of the voluntary options, the better our financial position will be.”

So, how’s it going? The university community will know next week. Professor Jacobs says he “will leave no option unexplored in seeking to protect as many jobs at UNSW as possible” and by end April, “will provide an update on our progress and what further steps we may need to take.”

New rankings … and the winners are

Biz school accreditor AACSB announces its 2020 innovations that inspire. One is at Swinburne

“Business schools are change-agents, creating environments where out-of-the-box thinking thrives,” the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business suggests. It apparently does at Swinburne U’s Social Start Up Studio, which is so far out of its box to win one of the 25 AASCB innovation awards. Apparently, the studio, “works with early-stage social enterprises to develop and test ideas, building knowledge to strengthen the social enterprise ecosystem.”

Rankings agency QS announces its pick of on-line MBAs

Five ANZ programmes make the global list of 47, UNSW, (fourth), Uni Otago (10th) Deakin U (20th) La Trobe U (30th) and Curtin U (40th)

Times Higher Impact ranking

The awards are for work that serve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In this second year, Uni Auckland stays in top spot, followed by Uni Sydney (second), Western Sydney U (third), and La Trobe U (fourth) all new to the global top ten. RMIT is tenth.

Other ANZ institutions on the list are, Monash U (=17th) Auckland Uni Tech and Uni Otago (=23rd), Uni Wollongong (31st), Victoria U of Wellington (36th), Uni Newcastle (=45th), Uni Tas (=47th), Deakin U (=55th), Massey U (60th), Charles Sturt U (=61st), UNSW (=66th), QUT (=70th), Edith Cowan U (83rd), Uni SA (=87th), Charles Darwin U (=99th).


February international student numbers: the worst is yet to come  

The official international student commencement and enrolment data for February does not deliver the significant falls the China travel ban was widely expected to deliver


Uni SA VC David Lloyd says the number crunch is like the big boulder Indiana Jones outruns in Raiders of the Last Ark. I suspect what we are going to go through is more Last Crusade, where the tank goes over the cliff and Indy slowly scrapes his way back up after all hope looks lost.  But whatever disasters will befall international education and training, they did not happen in February.

National numbers: Were up 1.6 per cent YTD, down 0.4 per cent for February

Higher education was down 0.8 per cent YTD and down 1.4 per cent for February

VET was up 10.1 per cent YTD and 10.5 per cent for February.

Schools were 2.3 per cent down YTD and down 2 per cent for the month.

ELICOS was down 4.9 per cent YTD and down 11.6 per cent for February. This appears to be the start of a trend.

Non-award was down 2.5 per cent YTD and down 3.3 per cent for February.

 The state of the states: NSW is all but on par YTD, up on same time last year by 0.8 per cent in HE, up 2.2 per cent in VET, down 4.8 per cent in schools, down 7.2 per cent in ELICOS and down 2.4 per cent in non-award.

Victoria is down 1.8 per cent YTD compared to 2019. HE is down 21.2 per cent, VET is up 16 per cent, up 9.6 per cent in schools, down 7.7 per cent in ELICOS and down 5.5 per cent in non-award.

Queensland is up 3.4 per cent YTD overall. It is up 6.4 per cent in HE, 2.8 per cent in VET, 5.8 per cent in schools, up 0.5 per cent in ELICOS but 4.2 per cent lower in non-award.

South Australia is up 17.7 per cent on the first two months of 2019. It is up 21.2 per cent in HE, up 45.8 per cent in VET, up 1.5 per cent in schools, up 10.3 per cent in ELICOS and down 17.7 per cent in non-award.

Western Australia is up 0.5 per cent on last year overall, down 3.7 per cent in HE, up 10.1 per cent in VET, down 9.5 per cent in schools, up 4.9 per cent in ELICOS and down 4.2 per cent in non-award.

Tasmania is up 13.1% on 2019. HE is up 7.1 per cent, 41.2 per cent in VET, 4.76 per cent in schools but down 42.1 per cent in ELICOS and 11 per cent in non-award.

Northern Territory is up 66.1 per cent, with HE up 34 per cent, VET 108 per cent, schools 46.6 per cent. ELICOS is off 50 per cent while non-award was 80 per cent better.

The ACT is down 8.49 per cent, with HE 16.2 per cent lower. VET is up 34.9 per cent in VET and schools 13.8 per cent up. ELICOS is down 39 per cent in ELICOS and non-award 3.8 per cent lower.

 Ahead of the China entry ban: It appears most, and I really mean almost the entire cohort, were already in the country prior to 1 February, or travelled to Australia via a third country to commence in February. ELICOS was the hardest sector hit while HE did not see much of the anticipated impact at all.

Trends and insights- nationally: Overall the China market is down 7.7 per cent, recording 35,761 commencements in the YTD period, down from 38,777 in the same period in 2019. February only, where a significant decline was expected, isn’t much worse with China being down 8.2 per cent. There were 27,194 commencements in Feb 20 v 29,609 in Feb 19.

ELICOS is hardest hit, being down 29 per cent YTD and 51 per cent in Feb only.

Higher Ed appears to have held-tight, being down 1.1 per YTD and 1.8 per cent February only.

VET is down 13.7 per cent YTD and 18.8 per cent Feb on Feb.

Non-award is down 10.9 per cent YTD and 11.2 per cent for February.

Trends and insights – the states:

Queensland and Northern Territory recorded growth from China in the Feb YTD period. Queensland is 7202 v 7056, same time in 2019.  The Northern Territory is up 116 v 71 same time in ‘19. In Queensland, this is driven by an extra 526 in HE. In the NT both HE and VET increased.

Victoria’s schools sector is up with an extra 14 students YTD.

South Australia overall is slightly down (0.7 per cent) largely due to losing 139 in non-award, higher ed is up 9.3 per cent or 143 students and VET is up 20 per cent.

In WA, everything except Higher Ed is down, overall, by 7 per cent, on the back of a 17.5 per cent decline in ELICOS, 29.6 per cent decline in non-award, 33.6 per cent decline in schools and 19.3 per cent decline in VET. Higher Education is up 2.7 per cent.

Tasmania is up 16.6 per cent in VET but down in every other sector and down 13.3 per cent TYD overall.

ACT is down 35 per cent overall with ELICOS lower by 83 per cent and HE by 35.2 per cent.

 Enjoy the numbers while they last. Indiana “education” Jones is going off the cliff in March, with no chance of a happy ending


Dirk Mulder is CMM’s international education correspondent